So you learn something every day. It seems that one of our favorite employees, Eustaquia, has become a United States citizen. On Thursday! I didn't know she wasn't. She has worked for AgroLiquid for years, most recently in material procurement, but all this time has been a resident and not a citizen. Even though she has been married to a Michigander for years and has a school-age daughter. Even though she served in the US Army years ago. You may recall that she was featured in the blog in the past as a champion runner...the longer the better. She is a fitness promoter, encouraging others to leave their desks at break to walk the walking path at HQ, me included. Well perhaps all that devotion to fitness and family kept her from raising her right hand and pledging allegiance...but no more. She and some 40 others took the oath in Grand Rapids. So she is an All American now, and said she is looking forward to finally being able to vote. Congratulations!
Friday, November 20, 2015
Not only awesome...but blogworthy! Thanks Tom. And Sandra for sharing. (Although I guess if they took pictures today it would show snow.)
Friday, October 30, 2015
So this past week the last plot at the NCRS was harvested. And just like that the plot season was over. But now the data summary begins. Then the interpretation. Then the writing of the Research Report. And hopefully some new discoveries about new and existing products.
So who is that taking a sample from a harvested plot of corn? Pink coat give it away?
Then they are lifted out of the ground....by a lifter. There is a scale on the lifter to determine yield. That's Tim on the back entering the data, while taking samples and putting them in those white bags. These samples will be analyzed for %sugar and other quality measurements.
So here is something I am not happy about. Canada Geese have selected one of our wheat fields on Farm 12 as a hotel and buffet. There are hundreds of them. There are quarry lakes in the area that they like, and this is the nearest wheat. Well there are no research plots here, but I don't like it. I haven't seen them on our actual research plots on other farms, so at least they aren't interfering with science. But they are a pest. In the summer we have deer and raccoon bothering crops, and now this.
At least they have the decency to not pull it completely out of the ground. Wheat can withstand grazing as cows know. But it's usually larger before they start feeding. These geese aren't so patient.
Monday, October 26, 2015
So last Friday was the last day of our road, I mean air trip. On the way home from Kansas we stopped to see a new Retail Partner, Southern Illinois Ag Service of Cobden, IL. Good luck finding Cobden. But it is North of Cape Girardeau, Missouri across the river in Illinois. It is run by Josh Lofton and his wife Christy. As you can see from the sign, they provide pretty much all you need to grow crops here. I had not met Josh before, but he is really service oriented putting the needs of the farmer first. He just got started this past summer taking several tanker loads of Sure-K for foliar apps to soybeans. But he is getting all set for 2016. Here is Josh giving us the tour of his office and chemical storage. That's Sales Account Manager Rick Knifley to the right of Galynn, then Josh and Craig. Rick picked us up at the Cape Girardeau airport the night before and is hauling us around.
Now I was most impressed with his new plot planter here. It can plant both 30" and 15" rows, and is set up with Ag Xcel pump and flow control equipment. We use Ag Xcel for our fertilizer application equipment at the NCRS, and it is second to none. Josh had long planted corn and bean plots for his seed business, but liquid fertilizer is a new option.
Down the road in Jonesboro is where the Liquid fertilizer tanks will go. They have this property set for new large tanks that will replace these. It is right off the highway, so it will be easy for truck traffic.
Here is where the seed and fertilizer plots will be next year. The best farmland is bottom land down near the Mississippi River. They use flood irrigation here and expect good yields. There are also plans for a field day next July, so stay tuned. And you can't have a field day without food and a place to congregate.
Well here we go. The farmer is also the owner of the Grassy Lake hunting club. Craig is an avid waterfowl hunter, and this made his trip. This area of Southern Illinois is a top hunting area for ducks and maybe some geese. He said geese aren't as prevalent down here as they were since they are staying up North as the lakes don't freeze as before. Also the increase in no-till has allowed for more food (corn cobs on the ground) so that the geese are happy to stay up North. Anyway, we are optimistic about our plans for the field day.
Here is a wall that serves as a levee to keep out Mississippi River floodwater should it be needed. They have painted historic scenes of the area along it. Very nice.
After a delicious lunch, we were ready to head back to Michigan. Craig was especially ready having been gone seven days now. However, his fans weren't at all ready to see him go. Calm down and get away from the plane. He'll be back.
After taking off, we flew over that same bridge.
And here is Michigan State University. Even though the plane engine is loud, you could still hear the cheers coming up from the happy students after beating University of Michigan in the most exciting finish to a football game ever.
Well that was a good time. What's next?
Saturday, October 24, 2015
So as you see from the above picture, last Tuesday us management types paid a visit to Retail Partner Tyree Ag. They have been retailers of AgroLiquid since they started fifteen years ago. In fact, their celebration of this milestone is coming up in November. How time flies. I can remember meeting Tim and Paige back in the beginning in their small office when it was just the two of them, and now they have 25 employees and two locations. Of course much of their success is because they are both alumni of Oklahoma State University. Well hard work probably helped too. Below is a picture of one of their ground rigs next to the bulk fertilizer tanks, as they provide custom application. They also sell Pioneer seed and fertilizer. So why would anyone have to go anywhere else?
We occasionally like to get the senior managers together at one of the retail partners so that we can all learn more about what it takes to market and move AgroLiquid these days. We took a tour of Tyree Ag's facilities. Tim shows us their chemical storage and where they load the sprayers. Lines come in from the outside bulk tanks to load fertilizer here as well.
Tim started out as an aerial applicator himself. He now has two of these Air Tractor 502 planes. However he admitted that he rarely flies himself anymore due to the size of the business now which keeps him on the ground managing operations. He said he could still do it, but the complexity of aerial application is more full time than occasional time to keep your brain sharp. Plus all of the wind turbines around these days are an extra hazard. They have their hangar set up as a drive through loading operation.
They also have ferti-Rain and NResponse in those tanks up top which are fed by gravity to the mixer when needed in an application. The fungicide applications usually include some fertilizer, and sometimes they are added with insecticides as well.
Lunch makes for a successful meeting, and we were served an excellent meal. Everyone cleaned their plates. Several times.
We also had some discussions on a variety of topics with all employees present. Here Paige and Tim recall the start up days and their goals for the future. One thing that was mentioned a number of times by all employees, from truck drivers to salesmen to the office staff, was the value of customer service. They said that customers see the value of that compared to other retailers. They also said that many of their customers like dealing with an independent compared to a national retailer, and have gotten some business just for that reason.
After meeting all day, we went to nearby Greensburg which has a motel and restaurant. You may recall that Greensburg was 95% destroyed by a big tornado back on May 4, 2007. It was an EF5 tornado that was two miles wide. They are still rebuilding. The mayor came to our manager meeting the next day to talk about the rebuild. They decided to follow "green" practices. Even though many of the people stayed and rebuilt, there are still voids in the downtown. The Tyree's lived in Greenburg and lost their house. Their business in nearby Kinsley was not affected.
There is a museum in town that we visited. They showed this pottery piece of the Last Supper that was found after the tornado. I suppose you could make a connection as to who kept his head through it all. You can read the story on the sign in back.
The museum is also build over the Big Well. But not just any well, but it's the biggest hand dug well in the world! It was finished in 1888 and was 109 feet deep. It reached into the Ogallala aquifer and had ten feet of water in the bottom. It supplied water for the town till 1932. By then they had a regular water tower. But imagine digging it with picks and shovels and filling barrels of soil and rocks to be lifted out. Now that's real work.
This is looking back up from the bottom of the stairway. It is maybe twenty feet or more from the bottom. I didn't see any water in the bottom. I suppose irrigation has lowered the level of the aquifer.
So if you're ever in Greensburg, be sure and drop in. Or take the stairs like we did.
Friday, October 23, 2015
So then last Sunday we were in Sedgwick, KS home of Retail Partner Quality Ag which is Jerry Cordell and his wife Kelly. Jerry has been providing AgroLiquid in he area for many years, and I've known him that long as well. We all were in for a crop tour of the area. Like these soybeans fertilized with AgroLiquid that are close to harvest. That's Jerry between Galynn and Craig.
Milo is a major crop in the area which is just North of Wichita. Here is a nice looking field of milo grown with AgroLiquid. Looking good and close to harvest. Milo is popular since it has a lower water requirement than corn.
This picture is from a research plot in milo near Hinton, OK last year. See all of the aphids? Well they literally suck the life out of the milo. You can also see some Lady Bug larvae eating them, but there are not enough to do the job. Monitoring fields and spraying for control early is the key. But these fields that are ruined by the aphid evidently were not checked. So the lesson is to monitor your crops.
Jerry grew up on a farm right close to where he is now. Here is a John Deere DFB-16 drill bought by his grandfather in 1966. He has it set up for AgroLiquid and decided to use it to seed a 100 acre field on the family farm.
Jerry shows it to Galynn and Craig. There is a connection to the past using the same equipment that his grandfather used. But the old mixed with the new as far as the plant nutrients.
Well Jerry also set up some drill fertilizer comparisons. Here is the crew looking at some dug up wheat plants.
On the left are some plants that had some LiberateCa along with the Pro-Germinator + High NRG-N + Micro 500 compared to no Liberate on the right. In the plants extracted, it looks like the Liberate promoted root growth. But he will check yields at harvest next year.
On Monday we flew West to Kinsley, the home of Tyree Ag. Tim Tyree started the business fifteen years ago with his wife Paige. They offer ground and aerial application of plant protection products along with AgroLiquid fertilizers. Tim gave us a tour of the area. Now on Monday the wind was blowing about as strong as it could be without a hurricane warning. Here we are watching some milo harvest. Harvest is just about wrapped up.
Galynn couldn't resist the opportunity to make sure they were loading the grain trailer correctly.
Here Tim and Galynn visit with a grower applying Pro-Germinator + High NRG-N + Micro 500 as he seeds his wheat. He remarked about how clean the fertilizer is as it ran through the drill compared to other fertilizers used in the past. Now who can argue with that?